Senior class gift causes some confusion

by Shara Tibken

The Simpson College Class of 2005 recently held its fund drive to raise donations for the senior class gift, a new treadmill and exercise bike.

“It’s a way of leaving a mark on campus and leaving something on campus that alumni can come back and see,” said Melisse Walpole, assistant director of annual giving and alumni relations.

Seniors have expressed mixed reactions about the class gift.

“I’m all right with them giving exercise equipment, but I take issue with the individual, specific equipment they’re getting,” senior Kayla Schmidt said. “I think we have enough bikes and treadmills, [but] we need an elliptical machine that works.”

Some students don’t plan to donate due to a lack of information.

“I haven’t been called about it,” senior Jessica Anderson said. “I don’t know anything about it, so I’m not going to donate to something I don’t really know anything about.”

Senior Nicole Molt plans to donate.

“I actually will donate for the next three years, at least, and plan to continue giving as long as I’m alive,” Molt said.

Seniors were sent a letter by the senior gift committee members early in February asking them to donate. Pledge totals were due on Feb. 25, but some are still coming in. As of March 1, a donation total had not been figured.

“It actually really varies,” Walpole said. “Last year, the class raised about $2,500 … It also depends on the class size, too, as far as the number of dollars that come in.”

The projected amount is not expected to be enough to cover the estimated cost of the gift.

“I’ve actually talked with John Sirianni, [athletic director and assistant professor of physical education], and roughly, the equipment could be anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000,” Walpole said.

Concerning the decision of the gift, the committee decided to give exercise equipment because it’s something that it believed the campus will use.

“We like to focus on something that all of our students will be able to be in contact with,” Walpole said. “We want to choose something that everyone, if they come back on campus, can go and enjoy.”

The gift was decided by the two committee chairs, seniors Andy Merrill and Kristi Prostine, along with Walpole.

The committee also spoke with people on campus about possibilities for gifts.

“I sit down with the captains and ask what they want to do,” Walpole said. “I also talked with department supervisors and department heads to see what the campus needs.”

Although consideration is given to what students want, they did not play a large role in the gift selection process.

“We kind of got input from others, our friends and stuff, but basically the three of us decided,” Prostine said.

Next year, Walpole plans to collect more student input.

“What I would like to do next year is ask our seniors what they think before we do the senior gift,” Walpole said. “That way they can tell us what they think Simpson needs.”